Saturday, July 23, 2011

San Esteban Catarina

Hola from San Esteban Catarina! I am currently in an Internet Cafe in my new community for the next two months. I only have about an hour here, so I cannot promise that this post will be wonderful, but I will try my best to capture the highlghts.

Yesterday was our first day in our training communities. I will admit that I was incredibly nervous for moving in with our host families. Prior to departing, PC was telling us how had this first weekend is and how some people come back crying and ultimately decide that PC is not for them. Anyway, despite nervousness, we ( my training group which includes Cory and Liz) arrived here around 3 p.m. by way of the back of a pickup truck. It was actually an amazingly fresh ride and would have only improved if I did not have a backpack on. My community is located north of San Vicente and is very hilly, which is great because it means that it gets colder here than in San Vicente. Also, it is what is deemed a pueblo so it is a town, which means it has more people, more stores, and in many cases the houses have more amentities than maybe some of my fellow trainees are facing, but I won´t know their experiences until Tuessday.

And here is the information you are probably all waiting for: My host family is amazing! I absolutely love it in this community so far. I live in this big house but I am having trouble calling it that because it is mostly open and has a large garden in the middle of it with rooms surrounding it on the outside. Then there is the front of the house where this a room with a hammock, a room with a television, and then the kitchen. I have a large room with a double bed, a dresser, and a table and chairs. I do have a toilet that is esentially a hole in the ground with a plastic cover and I do take bucket baths, which I have to remember to take at certain times because in the morning it is so so so cold. The garden is my favorite part. My host family grows avocados by the dozen, oranges, and random fruits I have never eaten before that are delicious. The family is huge and I cannot keep everyone straight. There are many children running around so I cannot keep straight yet who is who. But I have a host mom and host dad, their daughters, and their one daughter´s children. The older daughter with the children is going to the US in August with the youngest son who is going to start school. They have family in New York and Maryland, so she speaks some English from being there too. I will try to post pictures of the house soon when I remeber to take them and come back here.

We spent the night keeping out of the storm ( my goodness the rain here is downright terrifying). They seemed to be impressed with my Spanish compared to the past volunteers. I cannot say a lot but I understand a lot when they speak slower, which they are really good about. Apparently they have hosted a lot of volunteers so they know how to deal with gringos learning Spanish. I played with the kids about (loving the bubbles), we had papusas, talking in Spanish, and then we hit the hay around 8 or 9. Yeah everyone goes to bed early and gets up early. The sun goes down really early like 6 p.m. I slept pretty well under my mosquito net in my new bed, but it is tough with all the noises coming from chickens, cats, dogs, and other animals lurking around the area. There is generally a lot of noise all the time, but it is lively and fun.

Today we had Spanish class at Cory´s house (where all classes will be) which is next door to mine. Yay for a nice commute. We completed a community map where we took down all the places in the community, places we should not go, and places of interest. This includes schools, the pharamacy, the stores, the park , the cultural center, internet cafes, the music school, the ice cream place, the church, the day care, the police, and government center. It was a good way to get outside, start meeting people, and learn our new home. I really like the activity and we will present it to the rest of the PCTs on Tuesday when we had back into San Vicente for sessions with everyone. After class we all went to have lunch with our families. Then Liz´s host brother took us climbing up the moutains in our community and to watch a soccer game. It was good to be hiking and active, plus the view was spectacular of the valley, the moutains, the volcano, and the endless green that is ELS.

Okay I am cutting this off now to go back home. I know this is not very descriptive and I probably will not get back to a computer to Tuesday or so. On Sunday no one really does anything and on Monday I have to shadow a family member for an entire day.

Until then, paz y amor.


  1. Oh Jamie, This is so thrilling. I can't wait to read your posts each day. Your family sounds perfect. Steve initially learned much of his Spanish hanging out with his little 7 year old Chilean "brother" so I'm sure your extended family situation will give you lots of fun opportunities to learn from each other. I must keep a map handy to track your whereabouts.Sounds like you have a nice mix of conveniences and "realities".
    Love you, Aunt Karen

  2. oh honey what a wonderful post!!!!! so far so good!! im glad your safe,and your post is so informative for your dear mother. my friends are reading your blog as well and finding it so so interesting!!.cant wait to see pics. honey im just so proud of you..your are simply amazing and they are going to love you!!!! take care of you so much,,and of course miss our wawa

  3. Jamie is sounds like a wonderful adventure so far. I'm glad that your family is a good one and you are happy with them. Please do keep up posted and like Karen can't wait to see the pics. I also await to hear about your next adventure. Take care and talk to you soon. Debra Sparks